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Uber ups presence in SF Bay Area with buy of building in Oakland

Flush with cash, the ride-hailing company purchases a nearly 400,000-square-foot building in Oakland, California, across the bay from its San Francisco headquarters.

Dara Kerr Former senior reporter
Dara Kerr was a senior reporter for CNET covering the on-demand economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado, went to school in New York City and can never remember how to pronounce gif.
Dara Kerr
2 min read

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A rendering of what Uber's new Oakland headquarters will look like. Uber

Ride-hailing company Uber has purchased an historic building in downtown Oakland, California, and is planning to make the space an extension of its San Francisco global headquarters.

When the renovation of the '20s-era Sears building is complete, Uber will move in 2,000 to 3,000 new employees, the company said Wednesday. Uber now has about 2,000 workers in the Bay Area, the company says.

"As we continue to build our teams across the hundreds of cities where we operate, the Bay Area remains our original home," said Renee Atwood, Uber's global head of people and places. "We are excited to deepen our roots across the Bay by investing in the revitalization of historic downtown Oakland and to become a permanent part of the fabric of the East Bay community by adding thousands of jobs at our Oakland site."

Uber pairs passengers with drivers via a smartphone app. Since its founding in 2009, the service has become the world's largest ride-hailing company -- going from being just in San Francisco to operating in 61 countries worldwide. Uber has impressed investors with its potential: It's the highest-valued venture-backed company in the world, with a valuation of more than $50 billion.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said last week that he envisions a future in which every car on the road is an Uber car. The company has aggressively fought to achieve that goal. It's battled with competitors, like Lyft and taxi companies, and tussled with regulators from the US to Europe to Asia. This hard stance appears to have paid off, for now, as the company is flush with cash and able to buy massive buildings and hire thousands more workers.

Uber announced earlier this year that is was expanding its current San Francisco headquarters to a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city called Mission Bay. At this site, which will be in addition to its downtown and Oakland offices, Uber is building a 423,000-square-foot campus that will have one 11-story building and one 6-story building.

The remodeled Oakland headquarters will be a seven-story building with 330,000-square-feet of office space and 50,000-square-feet of public retail space on the ground floor. Uber plans to open its Oakland office in 2017. This news was earlier reported by the San Francisco Business Times.

Updated September 24 at 9:15 p.m. PT to state that the San Francisco Business Times earlier reported the story.